Business management is a strange old discipline, as there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution to managing the people and processes under your care. Moreover, while there are certain principles that remain universal, it’s important to recognize that capable management within one industry is not the same as functional management in another.
For instance, high-level professional kitchen optimization is often referred to as “managing a brigade,” but outside of strong discipline and the need for perfection, this environment has very little to do with actual military operational planning.
So, while learning essential management lessons (such as the virtue of investing in people and trusting them), will always remain evergreen, it’s also important to empower yourself in that position. This way, you can stretch your reach over more employees and practical processes, solidify your organizing habits, and use your experience to guide people effectively.
This is easier said than done, and so in this guide, we’ll discuss a few essential measures of empowering yourself as a business manager. Through this method, any practical approach you take will be a well-integrated part of your daily planning:
What Is Your Role?
It’s important to clearly understand your exact management responsibilities. Of course, these are often diverse. When you manage, you manage both tasks and the people who are working on those tasks.
However, management from one position to another can vary. It might be that you manage a maintenance team of three people, or perhaps you’ve overseen a whole department, getting reports from the sub-managers underneath you who can report on the goings-on under them daily.
It’s good to understand your role so that you can better mesh with others you’re managing and working with. For instance, you may have a certain manager above you, with a dotted line to another you report to.
When you clearly stipulate your role, you may realize that stepping on the toes of another manager in order to train their staff just isn’t in your purview, and instead, you can focus on enrolling changes to achieve better KPI indicators. To put it simply – to effectively manage, you have to be clear about what it is you’re responsible for, and where your value lies. This way, you can avoid the tendency to micromanage or neglect your overarching duties for the more granular operations that staff under you are responsible for.
Are You Developing As A Professional, Too?
It’s essential to remember that management life is by no means easy, it takes sharpness of mind, clarity of vision, and time invested into your workplace.
As such, developing yourself as a professional will help you become even more familiar with this role. Developing as a professional could mean joining your staff at their public speaking event to make sure you can give presentations more easily.
You may need to update yourself on a new form of regulatory compliance, ensuring that not only are you familiar with it, but you can review the work of those under you to make sure it matches.
Effective Time-Management Is Key
Managing your time is so essential as a manager, especially for those easing into this new management role. You’ll find that a million tasks seek your approval, certain staff requires your time, and unforeseen issues can arise and confuse your entire daily plan.
For this reason, it’s essential to focus on effective time management so you can invest the best of yourself into each discipline. A good way to think about this is “time blocks” which help you remain flexible.
So, instead of focusing on completing X task by the end of the day, perhaps even encouraging you to cut corners or be sloppy, you might block out certain time periods where you can focus your all on one dedicated task.
This can be adjusted to help you remain flexible and to manage your plans well. Prioritizing tasks can also help you focus on that which matters first, so you always have a proactive investment to take. For example – you might schedule 9am – 12pm to review professional candidates for an upcoming job role, organize interviews, and even host a video interview.
Then in the afternoon, you might have a meeting with the board of directors. From there, your time block is open, which gives you time to review the work of those under you, and schedule tasks through your dashboard. As you can see, time blocks give you the chance to be proactive, as opposed to “putting out fires” or spinning plates without a sense of direction or purpose.
Weekly Reviews Of Your Processes
The hallmark of good management is in reviewing your processes and considering how you could improve, or what superfluous action could be cut from your attempts next week.
It might be that you had to schedule a disciplinary review this week, but outside of the disciplinary, you didn’t have time to curate a recuperative plan for your staff member to follow, instead agreeing to communicate the next steps next.
In the heat of the moment, it felt like a good time-saving measure, but now you dislike the fact your employee is worried about their future at your firm, is probably less productive as a result, and may have fragmented your relationship with them.
This ability to reflect helps you avoid becoming the kind of manager who is brittle and never learns from their past actions, after all, these are some of the most tiring professionals to work under. You’d be surprised just how a little humility can improve your overall approach.
All-In-One Management Tools
Managing your workflow as a manager is just as, if not more important than doing so as a managed employee.
This is especially true if you’re scheduling work to be completed, planning reviews, developing invoices for clients, and trying to implement good communication channels to handle all of this. That’s why fantastic utilities like BuildOps software can help you ensure your productivity even in fast-paced industries.
This helps you cut the fluff from your operational processes while also reducing cognitive load, ensuring everything can be found in one place, securely, and conveniently. That allows you to focus on what really matters, good management, as opposed to constantly searching for this or that resource, or following outdated and bloated processes that only serve to waste your time.
All-in-one management tools are often available for each industry, too, designed so that you can better connect with your clients. It’s always worth checking if a better, more suitable option exists.
Developing Familiarity With Departments You Oversee
A management role is not the same as “knowing every task and technical skill of those under you,” but it does help to speak with clarity and connect with those you take care of. So for example, it might be that you help run an IT department.
Your personal expertise is in cloud hosting, but you have those under you responsible for high levels of coding and web development, which you’re not too familiar with. However, being able to have those conversations to better help direct and manage them is important.
As such, spending time nurturing that relationship and taking a foundational course on their practical duties each day can be tremendously helpful – as we mentioned above, empowering yourself in business is about continually developing yourself as a professional.
The Value Of Empowering Others, Too
When you lift others up, they tend to do the same for you. This might involve enrolling staff members in certain courses you believe would benefit their career, helping staff transition through life changes such as maternity, and always having that open door to discuss issues confidentially is important.
When you’re seen as a people-first manager, you tend to be trustworthy and your staff will pick up on that. If you give a little, staff will often give more of themselves to the role, and go that extra mile.
This is especially true if your praise is not easily given, but absolutely fair and direct when required. There’s nothing better than a staff member knowing they caught your attention for positive reasons, and their work has been used as an example for others to follow.
Consider Your Leadership Weaknesses
Everyone has leadership weaknesses, and that’s okay provided you’re working on them. It might just be that you want to be accepted by the department, especially in your new role, but it’s important to note that those under you aren’t looking for close friendship, but to have their careers managed well.
As such, we can help avoid any Michael-Scott-like situations where we try too hard to be relatable or interesting or connected to staff, a professional distance and example can be set which benefits all parties.
Moreover, you may realize that simplifying your emails so imperative language can be acted upon is something you need to plan for, while being more impartial about the advice you give will help you curate authority and remain fair in your judgments. This takes time, but as long as you review your outfit, you’ll be able to make the most of yourself.
With this advice, you’re sure to empower yourself as a business manager through and through.